Sunday, November 30, 2008

Doing What Is Best

It has been that time again. The time when I evaluate my life and start chopping away at the cancerous parts that make it harder than it should be. In these last couple of months, I've done several things. I've remembered what it is that I love and gives me pleasure in life and I've gone after those things with a ferocity that made some of my friends wonder if I was loosing my mind. Concerts, great food, wine events, and some guilty pleasure shopping. I enveloped myself back into my spiritual beliefs and attended events with people that strengthen those views. I also reconnected with my philanthropic side and I have never felt better doing so. Whether they were complete strangers, a social cause, or just some attention to my own friends and family, most rewarding things in life start with your heart.

Those were the fun parts, the more difficult side of change and balance is finding the things that are not so beneficial to you in a mental, physical and/ or spiritual way. People that are constantly trying to bring you down with their pessimistic views is a problem I often encounter, especially in a place like Oklahoma. Most people fear change here and can react violently with harsh words or threatening gestures. They fear changes to their ways of thinking, they fear changes to the way they have known the social structure as it has existed and they fear change within themselves. I think most of these people fear change because it somehow negates a part of their lives they have grown knowing. Whether it be family, friends, the church, or just a view of how they treat and/ or interact with new and different people and ideas, it can always be disappointing and scary (whether your views fall to the left or the right) that what you thought once to be true is no longer.

As always, with this change comes introspection. A deep analyzing and critical look at your changed ways is always helpful and beneficial. Do the friends you choose to hang out with inspire you to be better or are they just the same as before with different packaging? Are your eating habits the best for you overall, or the most convenient? Do you have any ideological, religious or spiritual beliefs which are keeping you from being who you are and/ or keeping you at odds with other loved ones? Are there things (whether it be drugs, work, the gym, personal baggage, and/or personal views) in your life that are halting or completely stopping your short or long term goals?

Yeah, its not easy nor is it always pleasant. If anything, sometimes it is helpful to have someone you can talk to that will be encouraging and honest. It can be very hard to share your feelings and fears with people when you are afraid that you will be ridiculed, criticized, judged, or worse; that the person you trusted will try to use your shared faults against you at some point. Luckily, I've made in roads in a lot of these areas and have made some difficult and unwanted decisions. Mistakes will occur, but at least you are trying. If anything, be thankful for those in your life that uplift and love you. They are truly the best things in life.

Change is the constant, the signal for rebirth, the egg of the phoenix.
Christina Baldwin

Things do not change; we change.
Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)

It's not that some people have willpower and some don't. It's that some people are ready to change and others are not.
James Gordon, M.D

Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.
King Whitney Jr.

Nothing in the world is permanent, and we're foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we're still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it. If change is of the essence of existence one would have thought it only sensible to make it the premise of our philosophy.
W. Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965), The Razor's Edge, 1943

Friday, November 28, 2008

If Your Gonna Shop, Make It Count...

So the consumerist holiday season is upon us and it seems to be lacking that certain shine as previous economic times brought us. We all work hard for our money, and if you are like my friends and I, you want your money to buy well and some how do well for you or others. That is why I look forward to when organizations like The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) release their annual buying guide. They list the companies that help, support and give back to the GLTB community. If you care, it can give you a good feeling knowing that your hard earned dollars will not be used by a company to help thwart your rights, such as Cinemark CEO Alan Stock. Or how about the vice president of Manhunt, who gave money to McCain's campaign (and no, I've never had a membership on that nasty site!) Look at my friend Dan's blog to read about the Salvation Army and their homophobic actions. Keep informed and keep up the good fight. There is no reason for us to pay people to keep us from our rights. Here are some words from HRC why the guide should be important to you.

Buying groceries? Planning a trip? Making investment decisions?

With the economy as it is, the need to ensure that every dollar spent counts has never been more important. This year hundreds of businesses have earned the right to call you a customer with the commitment they have made to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Buying for Equality guide will help you easily support companies that support equality for LGBT Americans.

Ratings in Buying for Equality are based on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's annual report card, the Corporate Equality Index. A record 260 businesses scored 100 percent on this year's report, which is a significant increase from the 195 businesses that earned a perfect score last year. From enhanced domestic partner benefits to transgender inclusion in non-discrimination policies, we are seeing a revolution in the American workplace.

More than 300,000 people have used Buying for Equality to make informed choices about their purchases. This year, you can do your part to support fair-minded businesses by requesting or downloading Buying for Equality 2009....

...“With this year’s economy, we need to make sure every dollar we spend goes to businesses that have earned the right to call you a customer,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Every day, we make choices that send a powerful message about our values, our principles and our ideals. We do it every time we make decisions on how to clothe and feed our families or what investments to make. Where we spend and invest our dollars has remarkable potential to positively affect the LGBT community because it reinforces what many companies know: fairness is good business.”

According to a Witeck-Combs/Market study, the buying power of the LGBT community is estimated to be $759 billion in 2009. During difficult economic times, our nation’s businesses know that every dollar spent by consumers figures into the success of their organization.

Get the Buyer's Guide on your phone. Text SHOP and the name of the company to 30644.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Chillin With Mirah

Seven years later and this song still makes me have goosebumps. Sing it!

The Garden - Mirah

iTunes Top Five Players

This post is in response to a post David put on his blog. I was surprised by my own results. I guess I use my iPod more than my computer.

Moby: Where You End; 41 Plays
Robbie Rivera: Float Away (Rivera Remix); 14 Plays
Arctic Monkeys: D is For Dangerous; 4 Plays
Metro Station: Kelsey; 3 Plays
Moldy Peaches: Anyone Else But You; 3 Plays

Monday, November 24, 2008

Worthy Of the Name "Hero"

I wanted to post this news clip that tells the story of a little boy who did more than I could hope to accomplish in my life. Truly touching, I was moved to tears by his courage and his handling of the situation. Much more mature than people twice or three times his age. Amazing.

Tree Hugger

A video someone made for Ansty Pants and Kimya Dawson's "Tree Hugger." Cute.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Support Your Local Community

So today is America Unchained. Basically if you are gonna spend your hard earned money, try to do it at local establishments. Eat at that really cool mom and pop restaurant as opposed to the flavor and life sucking chain restaurant. Go have a drink at the hole in the wall you love that your friends pass over for some pub that you can find in most states. Go see a local production or visit your local club and see a local band. Whatever, just experience what we have here for a day and maybe you will find something new that's been there all along.

And you can support a local gay artist, Eric Himan, from Tulsa who plays acoustic/rock music tonight. He will be playing at Galileo's in the Paseo tonight at 9pm. He is really cool, down to earth, socially active and plays good music.
Here is a video of his.

"Little Boy Blue" Music Video

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Next Trip Goes to...

So maybe it is the wine or the fact my friends dragged me to a Blazers ice hockey game tonight, but I splurged (?) in spite of rent and bought tickets to see Cut Copy in Dallas in March. It is the day after my birthday and I thought it would be perfect since they are from Australia and I will probably never get a chance to see them again. I posted a previous song from them (Hearts on Fire), but here is another favorite.

Wine Fest 08

So I think this will have me caught up with my events for now. My friends and I attended the First Annual Wine Fest at 50 Penn Place. It was a two day event that highlighted Oklahoma's local wineries and some local eateries as well. A perfect event for a foodie snob like myself. I had a blast. There were some decent wines, some bad wines and some good wines. The point being I encourage all these small, self started businesses to keep doing what they are doing. Where ever you live, you should purchase and support local businesses, not that I don't buy imports, but it should even out.

I also applaud our local wine industry for recent local legislation that allows them to sell their goods to merchants without a middle man. That is a step for small businesses and for Oklahoma laws overall. See you at the next wine event, which is a benefit for cancer and leukemia hosted by my friend Charles and his neighbor's Jessica and Amber. It will be held at Bin 73, November 24th and costs only $25. Plus it supports a really good cause. Check info here. Anyway, here some pics from the event.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just Because...

...Everyone should wake up to this beautiful song.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Stop the H8 Rally

So I am still catching up from this past weekend cause it was a doozy. On Sat, November 15th, rallies were held across the world to show support against the passing of Proposition 8 in California which would make all marriages between gays and lesbians null in the eyes of the law. This constitutional amendment is seen as a major set back for gay marriage, especially since it took place in California. I could care less if you believe in gay marriage or want to get married yourself, but I believe in accordance with the Fourteenth Amendment, that marriage is a fundamental right guaranteed to all citizens. People claim they don't care how the church views their relationship, nor do I, but this is in regards to the rights that all married citizens enjoy as ordained by the state and national government. If you don't want to marry the person you love, please don't, that will be one less present I will have to buy, but if you want to share a full and satisfying life with your partner without fear of being fully recognized in a court of law then get off your lazy, selfish asses and donate some time, money, effort or something.

Here are some pics from the local rally. I was impressed so many young people attended, but I was also disappointed by how many people I do know that did not visit this function. Seriously, get off your lazy butts out of bed and do something with your lives. It's not just about work and play. I will be working with some other local activists in the coming months. We have some big plans to get some things done in Oklahoma including local elections. We are tired of the stuffiness and self centered attitude of the older activists and we are disappointed in the apathy and cluelessness we see in the younger generations. And of course I threw in some Margaret Cho cause I can and I love this woman. Love the song.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Doing It Cobra Style

So it took a minute, but I finally found some time to post some pics from my Dallas excursion. Here is a sampling of them, more can be viewed on Myspace or Facebook. The Cobra Starship show was awesome, the shopping was mostly on sale (hells yeah), food was great (as usual), and the bars were a rocking. I made it a point to hang out with friends I had not seen in a while and meet new ones. I also made it a point to get these people to take me places I had yet to have gone. My enthusiasm paid off in big ways. I made new friends, rekindled friendships and even hung with a lot of people visiting from OKC as I was. I hung out at new bars and had new experiences. I also realized that I have been clinging too much to my independence. I had become set in certain ways and forgot that there are so many things yet to do. That is funny, because most people think of me as hating routine, but I had fallen into one. I had forgotten about all the wonderful things and people I have in my life and what they have to offer. It felt really satisfying to remember that. And I realized that while I would have liked someone there with me, I would really prefer that person to share my same interests. My love of live music, gourmet food, fine wines, thrifty but nice clothing, taking walks outside just to see the area and people. Just being able to relax and not being so strung up was a nice little retreat for me, and that is something I've been doing the last couple of weeks. Surrounding myself with people like me, that don't freak out at everything and can still have a good time, cause it's hard to forget about anxiety and everything else when you are with someone that is more anxious than you are. Well, I've got plenty more to come and plenty more to do. I just got my Katy Perry tickets in the mail today. Taylor, and I are going for our birthdays since the show is in March and I am bringing a friend that enjoys Dallas as much as I do. I am in love again... and its name is Life.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Two of My Favorite Things...

The first being rocking live music. I had a date with Metro Station in Tulsa today, but decided to attend events that will hopefully effect my future in positive ways. Tough decision, but it had to be done. Here are two of there videos. I am over the "Shake It" song, but I am really enjoying "Control" and "Kelsey". Love them.

Banner 2 Banner 1 go!

The other being my love of discussion of social issues. If you have not heard of Prop 8 in California, there is no hope for you and quit reading now. For the rest who care about your and/or your friend's ability to live as equal citizens, rather than second class citizens should join others and I on the steps of City Hall, Saturday, November 15th at 12:30. It's a national event and this issue does have national repercussions. I thank Keith Olbermann for his words and Dillon for sending this my way. Please watch. I will do it for love.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Oh, so its been a long crazy, busy week. Actually it's been a bit since I've given myself a personal vacation, so as the political brouhaha ends I be headed down to Dallas to get the hell out of OK, the most Republican, conservative state this election and head towards some fun. I'll be headed to go see Cobra Starship, do some shopping, eating and some much needed rest. Can't freaking wait. Don't be surprised if I don't come back.

Hollaback Boy - Cobra Starship

The World Has Its Shine [But I Would Drop It On A Dime] - Cobra Starship

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Gay Rights Update!! Say It Ain't So! Bittersweet....

An online newsletter I receive from the Human Rights Campaign reported ....

Dear Timothy,

Unfortunate news has dimmed the exhilaration of this historic, life-changing election.

I am deeply disappointed to report anti-LGBT marriage bans passed in Florida and Arizona, and in Arkansas voters voted to bar all unmarried people, LGBT or straight, from adopting children or serving as foster parents.

Meanwhile media outlets have begun to report bad news for marriage equality in California. However, the Human Rights Campaign just participated in a conference call with our coalition partners and we firmly believe that all votes should be counted before calling the race. Several million votes in California have yet to be counted. Now is not the time to speculate on somebody’s fundamental rights. So we are waiting to see the final results from those ballots and will be issuing a statement after the race has been called. Please stay tuned.

While this news certainly put a damper on such a historic election, we should celebrate the fact that our movement came together in an unprecedented way, and worked tirelessly to defeat these amendments, and millions voted with us yesterday.

It is indeed a bitter pill to swallow. But we cannot allow distorted facts or shallow tactics – the foundation on which our opponents built their campaigns – to break our spirits. We are on the right side of history – and we will continue this journey.

Let us not forget that we saw many glimmers of hope for LGBT equality across the country last night. We increased the ranks of pro-equality lawmakers in both the House and the Senate. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO), ringleader of the campaign to write discrimination into the U.S. Constitution, was soundly defeated. Jared Polis (D-CO) became the first openly gay man ever to be elected to Congress as a non-incumbent. Democrats took the New York State Senate, giving us our best chance ever to pass a same-sex marriage law in a legislature. We beat back a ballot question in Connecticut that could have threatened our recent victory there. In fact, marriages begin next week. And we elected Barack Obama as our next President, ending eight years of anti-LGBT policies. I truly believe that despite these setbacks, our nation is moving in the right direction.

After fighting for years, so many victories are now within reach. And thanks to yesterday’s victories, we can now pass critical LGBT equality measures like the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act and begin unraveling the damage of the last eight years...

Still A Ways To Go For Equality

Last night, we as Americans witnessed one the most historic elections. Hopefully this bodes well for race relations in America. Yet other elections concerning social issues and local elections didn't fair so well for Democrats and Progressives. Americans have many different beliefs about what we believe are parts of the American way of life and how we view others that are yet to be seen as equal. These various issues will take more time and hard work, but it looks like most people in America are moving toward this change. I also thank everyone who voted for this change and not out of fear, it is only by voting for optimism and change will things gradually begin to get better.

California set to pass Prop 8 ban on gay marriage

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Two U.S. states rejected proposals to limit abortion rights while others said no to gay marriage, in a mixed message over contentious social issues as Americans elected their first black president.
Results of votes on more than 150 proposed state measures across the country showed a more complex cultural map than Tuesday's historic election of Democrat Barack Obama might indicate.
In California, same-sex couples were poised to lose the right to marry, while Florida and Arizona voted to ban gay marriage outright, joining dozens of other states that define marriage as only between a man and a woman.
Attempts to restrict abortion in South Dakota and Colorado met strong voter resistance.
Halting abortion and same-sex marriage are key issues for many conservative Christian voters, an important base for the Republican Party.
With 89 percent of precincts reporting, the California proposition -- which came about half a year after the state court opened the way to gay marriage -- was trailing by nearly 4 percentage points.
"We have Obama," Noelle Skool, 29, said of her hopes for change as she checked identification at a popular lesbian bar in San Francisco's Mission district. "It's small steps. Eventually they'll warm up to the fact that, hey, we're all equal."
Mathew Staver, founder of the conservative Liberty Counsel, had success as a proponent of the Florida gay marriage ban but saw the state vote for Obama the Democrat.
"The passage of this amendment is a bright star on an otherwise dismal night, in which America elected the most liberal President in her history," Staver said in a statement.
Colorado voters rejected a measure that would have made abortion the legal equivalent of murder by defining human life as beginning at conception.
South Dakota defeated a ban on abortion that, if passed, had been expected to spark a court battle leading to the Supreme Court.
"We defeated it here, and it won't spread to other states," said Sarah Stoesz, president of the local Planned Parenthood chapter. "And now we've started a counter movement in a very conservative part of the country."
In other state ballots, Michigan voted to allow medical use of marijuana, Nebraska ending affirmative action to help minorities and Washington allowing doctor-assisted suicide.
(Reporting by Peter Henderson and Alexandria Sage; Editing by John O'Callaghan)